• Supporting over 150 children in Uganda



    "Education is the best solution to fight poverty and disease".


    Our mission is to send vulnerable children in Uganda to school and to empower their families long-term to become self-sustainable. We support the kids with school fees and school uniforms, medicine, food, toys, clothes and other basic needs like mattresses, mosquito nets and clean water. In addition, we run small business projects like tailoring, chicken business, grinding, selling clothes and making jewellery from recycled paper to make sure the families will become self-sustainable and able to take care of the basic needs of their children.


    Every Sunday we cook food for the kids in Acholi Quarter in Kampala and every Saturday for Jinja!

    Come and join us! Email to info@22starsfoundation.org

    Founded in 2016 by Stella Romana Airoldi with help of Susan Laker

    Stella decided in 2008 to travel around the world for eight months, not knowing that a few years later she will be fully nomadic. Whether she went she was regularly confronted with poverty and injustice and decided to do a Master degree in Public International Law and an Advanced Master degree in Human Rights and Democracy. Stella wrote her thesis about child victims of the LRA and visited Uganda to do research in 2009, this is how Stella met Susan Laker, not knowing that a few years later they would have daily contact and build up something special.


    In particular, the story of Susan Laker -who was about Stella's age and had to seek refuge in military barracks when she was only 13 years old where she got pregnant from her first son – touched her heart. Stella learned at the development organization where she was working that the best way to help people out of poverty is by making sure that they can provide for themselves. She thus decided to help Susan Laker in her free time and within a few years she saw the impact she made. Susan went back to school and became the project manager of the social business 22STARS Jewellery, that was founded by Stella in 2013. With the social business Stella empowers more women like Susan to rise above poverty: as of August 2017 they have 30 women making jewellery in Kampala and also in Jinja.


    With the first money that Susan earned she was also able to send her teenage children to school. They started primary school when they were already 10 years old, but better ever then never. Susan and her kids went through a really rough time when they were younger, Susan fled from the war with the LRA of Northern Uganda to Kampala, she was diagnosed with Hiv/Aids, had tuberculose and cancer. Susan was working together with her kids in the stone quarry. Then she started making jewellery out of paper beads that her children would sell on the streets, but she had not a big market for the jewellery, until 2009 when she met David Wafula who introduced her to Stella. Susan and her kids finally coudl go to school. However, when her daughters were about to go to secondary school which is 150 euro per term instead of 60 euro for primary, Susan was struggling again to get that much money together. So Stella decided to step in and help out with the school fees.


    Susan told Stella about the many other families, who like Susan are struggling to get enough money for school fees and who are still working in the stone quarry to survive. Susan has a big heart and loves everyone and wants to help where she can. As Stella is a firm believer that education is the best way to help people out of poverty, she decided to take away the burden of the parents of paying the school fees of the children. In 2016 Stella Romana Airoldi started a GoFundMe campaign and started looking for longterm sponsors for the kids in the Acholi Quarter slum in Kampala. Within one year she managed to find long term sponsors for 100 children and as per April 2017 the Foundation 22STARS is established.


    As of August 2017 more than 150 children go to school long-term (112 in Acholi Quarter in Kampala and 37 in Danida slum in Jinja). Susan Laker is the project manager of the 22STARS KIDS FOUNDATION in Kampala. As she knows exactly the struggle that the families and kids are going through and also lives herself in the Acholi Quarter slum, she is the perfect ears and eyes on the ground for us. She keeps a close eye on the kids and families to make sure that they do well in school and get medicine or other help when needed. We provide all children with weekly meals, medicine, toys and clothes. Thanks to donations we also bought many mattresses for kids, some beds, mosquito nets and other basic needs. In addition Stella also has micro finance projects, like holding chicken, learning tailoring and selling clothes, with the parents/care takers of some of the children to make sure that they will be self sustainable and able to take care of the basic needs of the children themselves.


    When Stella is not in Uganda, she travels the world, alone or with her friends from the digital nomad community and speaks at many conferences to get the word out about 22STARS to find more sponsors for the kids and buyers for the jewellery. Stella also organised already four three-week-long Social Workations in Uganda to fundraise money for the foundation.


    Safe the date: hear me speak

    at DNX global in Lisbon 10 September

    and at Escape the CIty in Frankfurt 14 September



    We've got a top notch team!

    Stella Airoldi

    Founder/ director

    Stella is the founder of 22STARS jewellery and 22STARS KIDS. She is the main responsible for the whole project. Together with Susan and Aidah she selects the children for the program. She writes their stories, takes the pictures and keeps the website updated. She is also in contact with all the sponsors, keeps track of the finances and does fund raising. Stella is regularly herself in Uganda to check on the families and children. You can follow her personal Facebook Profile to stay up to date of the latest news from the 22STARS KIDS.

    Susan Laker

    Local manager Kampala

    Susan Laker was the reason that Stella started 22STARS! Susan is the 22STARS project manager for the jewellery and also for the kids project. Susan lives herself in the Acholi Quarter slum. Thanks to making jewellery her life improved a lot and she was able to go back to school herself. Susan pays the school fees when Stella is not there and she sends her invoices, school reports and updates. As Susan also lives in the slum area, she keeps a close eye on the families and children. Every Sunday she cooks for all children a meal. We send all three children of Susan to school through the Foundation 22STARS Kids.

    Aidah Namboza

    Local manager Jinja

    Aidahs parents herself used to live in the Danida slum. Aidah however was able to go to school and leave the slum area. She lives now in Jinja about 10 minutes away from Danida with her family. However Aidah keeps coming back and does he upmost best to help the families in Danida. Aidah also makes jewellery for 22STARS and when Stella is not around Aidah pays the school fees of the children and send Stella the invoices and school reports. We send two children of Aidah to school through the Foundation 22STARS Kids.

    Romana Oosterbeek

    Board Member

    Romana is living in the Netherlands but comes from German/Italian parents. Romana has a big social network in and outside of Holland and loves to bring people together and to organize events. She loves kids and even published her own book for children called Pipke and Popke. She was a big fan from 22STARS jewellery from the very first second she was also among the first people to start sponsoring children long time. Romana visited the 22STARS projects herself in March 2016.


    Klaus Friedhelm Muller

    Board Member

    Klaus F. Müller is a German dentist and European pioneer of modern dental implantology. He grew up in Sinn in Hessen. Privately, he is concerned with the art and architecture of historicism and he is an avid ultralight pilot. Klaus was supporting 22STARS from the beginning and was the first to support two boys with school fees, after hearing their stories that they would like to become pilots too. Klaus is going to visit the 22STARS projects himself together with his wife Anne Mueller in November 2017.


  • Background Story 22STARS KIDS

    Kampala and Jinja in Uganda

    The key to a bright future is education

    From social jewellery business to kids foundation

    Founder Stella Romana Airoldi went to Uganda to do research for her thesis in international humanitarian law in 2009. Her creativity and wish to help the war affected people have been a direct incentive to establish the social jewellery company 22STARS a few years later in 2013. They give people in Uganda -who are displaced by war and/or live in extreme poverty- a way to help themselves. The collection is handcrafted using recycled paper beads and consists of modern design with an African touch. Stella works side-by-side with the artisans to create beautiful jewellery. The profit is reinvested in the social mission to fight poverty.


    In 2016 Stella started a campaign to raise money for the many children that are living in the slum area next to the jewellery office and were not going to school and had nothing to eat. A year later the 22STARS KIDS FOUNDATION was established and sends now more than 150 kids to school long-term. We keep a close eye on the children and help them to succeed. Our goal is that every child at least gets sponsored until he/she finishes primary school, and then hopefully with the help of the sponsors will be able to continue with secondary school.


    Thanks to regularly donations from Alexander Schledewits and his team since December 2016, we give the children every Sunday a meal with fish or meat. In addition thanks to general donation money we provide them with clothes, toys, mosquito nets, clean water and medicine .Since this summer we also have small business trainings and projects with the families or care takers of the children to make them self sustainable! We give them a small start capital and training to run their own business, like farming, tailoring, cooking and selling goods. You can choose where you like your money to be spend on!


    Why do the kids need you

    Educate a child, and you potentially educate the whole nation!

    Twenty years of civil war took a heavy toll on children. The parents from the 22STARS kids in the Acholi Quarter slum fled during the war with the LRA and Joseph Kony from Northern Uganda to Kampala to seek refuge. They ended up living in a slum area centered around several stone quarries. Even kids as young as 3 years old are crashing stones to earn money for food. Although there is peace now in Uganda, the battle against poverty in the Acholi Quarters continues.


    In addition, 22STARS enlarged their project to the Danida slum, one of the poorest areas of Jinja in Eastern Uganda, which has been affected a lot by drought and food scarcity and addition is the home base of many internally displaced people from Uganda. The parents of most of our kids in the Danida slum and Acholi Quarter slum are illiterate, traumatized, HIV positive, became pregnant at a very young age, and have to care for a large family.


    Many of the kids lost one of their parents or even both and are taken care of by an aunt or uncle. We want a better future for those children and their communities and for that they need education. Once they are doctors, engineers, teachers and so forth they will become change-makers and able to give back to their community.


    The founder of FOUNDATION 22STARS KIDS is Stella Romana Airoldi.

    Stella spoke at several events and got interviewed in various magazines and blogs.

    Check out the online interviews, video's and podcast that Stella has been in so far.


    Safe the date: hear Stella speak at DNX global in Lisbon 10 September

    Nomad Cruise

    Stella Romana Airoldi | Making an Impact in the World: Creating a Social Business. Stella is one of those people who seem to have been everywhere already. And it’s probably true! In 2008 she decided to travel around the world by herself for about eight months. Wherever she went, she felt like she was confronted with poverty and injustice. Long story short: she got her Master’s in Public International Law and became a board member of SIFE Leiden, where she learned that the best way to help people out of poverty is by making sure that they can provide for themselves. Soon after she founded 22STARS in Uganda, a business based in Kampala, in which women make jewelry from recycled paper. With the project, she enables children to attend school. In her talk, Stella will tell you just how difficult it can be working in different cultures and especially with war victims without academic education, how to deal with obstacles at the start, how finding the right community will help you forward.


    The Nomad Capitalist

    "Stella is a Dutch and German born social nomad, constantly on the move, who makes with her business an impact in the world. With a captivating enthusiasm in her manner of speaking she managed to give me an insight of her journey, adventures in Africa and upcoming inspiring projects. With 22STARS she empowers families in Uganda to rise above poverty by helping them to design and sell jewellery. She also has a foundation which sends more then 98 children long term to school and gives them weekly meals, medicine and clothes. In addition, she host workations in Uganda to bring Digital and Social nomads over here to co-work together with locals to make a change."

    Marcus Meurer LifeHackz Podcast

    " Dieses Mal mit der lieben Stella von 22Stars. 22Stars ist ein Online-Shop, der Schmuck von Frauen aus Uganda verkauft und Stella habe ich in Tarifa kennengelernt, was auch ein Digitaler Nomaden und Kitesurfing Hotspot ist. Wir sind ja jetzt bekanntlich total passioniert dem Kitesurfing verfallen. Stella habe ich dann auch wieder auf der Nomade Cruise getroffen und in Jericocoara hier in Brasilien. Also die Szene wächst irgendwie immer mehr zusammen, was richtig cool ist. Man trifft immer mehr Gleichgesinnte unterwegs, die man dann kennt und kann sich dann mit denen über businessrelevante Sachen austauschen."

    Freedom Summit

    Sign up and listen to a 30 minutes video interview with Stella. Freedom Summit is An online platform where inspiring change-makers and leaders teach new emerging formulas on how to travel, work and live a fulfilling life around the world. Stella will explain in the video how to start a social business and how she is making 100% impact by empowering women in Uganda. "Bridging cultures through fashion and design. Our jewellery is designed by Stella Romana Airoldi in cooperation with the Ugandan designers. Each piece is hand-crafted by one of twenty-five 22STARS empowered women, and 100% of product sales are reinvested in the social mission to empower women and their families in Uganda.

    King and Why

    “Everyone has an hour in their day to go and do something for somebody else; I don’t care how busy they are.”- Gisele Bündchen. By all means take a moment to digest the model mogul’s truth bomb. Without striving to make an impact, to make any form of change, a business might as well cease to exist. Chiming for change with her sustainable jewellery brand 22STARS – a fashion enterprise that fosters talent and empowers women in need in Uganda’s Acholi quarter –founder Stella Airoldi is bringing a whole new meaning to paying it forward. MC, editor

    Nomad City Las Palmas

    Stella talked at Nomad City Las Palmas about how to make a difference as a Digital Nomad. The Nomad City events are a fantastic opportunity to network, learn and experience the beautiful town of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria with other location independent entrepreneurs and digital nomads from around the globe. Join us for amazing talks with speakers who share their best tips and tools about location independent life AND get to explore Gran Canaria and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, while taking part in different activities around the island


    "Making a change in poverty and injustice - just with your own work? This seems impossible for most people as they feel they can't change anything in the world with their own power. For them it's a task for governments. But Stella Romana Airoldi, born in Germany and grew up in the Netherlands, wanted to make a change on her own and she did. After her travels to Uganda, where people are still traumatized from war, are HIV positive and have little education, Stella decided to help by empowering people to provide for themselves. So in 2012 she started 22STARS. In the online shop of 22STARS and in stores like YAY in Amsterdam she sells jewellery, which is handmade from recycled paper by women from the Acholi Quarters in Uganda. In this interview Stella shares her story about her world wide travels, her business and digital nomad lifestyle."

    Never Liked It Anyway

    "Since she was little, Stella’s lucky number has always been 22 and she loves sleeping under the stars, hence her company’s name. Stars symbolize the interconnectedness of the world because we can all see them from wherever we are. For the artisans in Uganda, stars mean hope, guidance, protection, and balance. And Stella’s hope is that this jewelry, and the stories behind it, will inspire people to reach for the stars, too. Stella, this week’s Woman Crush Wednesday, is the founder of 22STARS, a sustainable jewelry brand that sells exclusive handmade jewelry created from recycled paper by women in Uganda. She is a huge advocate for “fashion that gives back,” and empowers people through her company’s mission. “Our mission is to design and sell high quality jewelry made with respect for the environment and the people that make them.”

    Artikel 2.55

    "Van toga naar teenslipper-lifestyle met een online fashionbedrijf en daarmee iets teruggeven aan de wereld: social entrepreneur Stella Romana Airoldi (31) doet het met haar 22Stars. Business meets goodwill, wat een inspiratie! Met een rechtenstudie leek een advocatenjob een vanzelfsprekendheid. Voor haar scriptie reisde Stella eerst nog even af naar Oeganda, waar ze de vrouwen van Kampala in haar hart sloot. Tegen alle verwachtingen in werd het niet de advocatuur, maar de fashionindustrie, om zo de Oegandese vrouwen een beter bestaan te geven."

    Simple Keep

    "When Stella Romana Airoldi first set foot in Uganda, she had no idea she was about to embark on an even greater journey to help bring education and jobs to the women she met there. Building off of an existing product she saw being made by the women in northern Uganda, Stella founded 22STARS, a brand that stretches far beyond the jewelry it creates. Each piece is handmade from 100% recycled materials, and the proceeds help women support their families, while making education accessible to their children. In addition, the women who work for the brand receive financial training, social support, health training, and a variety of other classes."

    Digital Nomad Souls

    "Stella unterstützt mit dem Verkauf von Schmuck auf 22stars.com Frauen in Uganda, ein besseres Leben zu führen. Die schönen Schmuckstücke werden aus recyceltem Papier hergestellt. Außerdem setzt sich Stella dafür ein, dass Kinder in die Schule gehen können anstatt im Steinbruch arbeiten zu müssen."

    The Smmile

    "About how social media can help your business. I have a socially minded business called 22STARS, that designs and sells handmade jewellery from recycled paper. The jewellery is made by women survivors of the war in Uganda. You’re probably wondering how I came to set up something like this, so let me tell you the story of how it all started. Following in the footsteps of my parents, I lead a very active life and travelled all over the world. During these travels, I was regularly confronted with poverty and injustice. For that reason, I decided to get my Master’s degree in Public International Law and become a board member of SIFE Leiden. That is where I learned that the best way to help people get out of poverty is to make sure that they can provide for themselves. I wrote my thesis about girl child soldiers within the Lord Resistance Army and visited Uganda in 2009 to volunteer at an AIDS Information Centre and do the research for my thesis. This is how my passion and interest for Uganda started."


    "Recycled Paper Jewelry From Uganda - 22STARS. In this week's artisan portrait, meet Stella Romana Airoldi the founder of 22STARS. This is a socially minded business that designs, crafts and sells handmade jewelry. This unique jewelry is handmade from recycled paper, by women living in the Acholi Quarter of Kampala, Uganda. All the jewelry pieces of 22STARS are fabricated in a socially responsible manner that is friendly to the environment.


    22STARS jewelry is designed by Stella Romana Airoldi and handmade together with Ugandan artisans to empower them to rise above poverty. Their artisans fled during the war with the LRA from Northern Uganda to Kampala and face many challenges; many of them are illiterate, HIV positive and traumatized. 22STARS enables them to get their self-respect back and earn a living for their families. Besides creating jewelry, they teach them small business skills to make them independent strong women and help them where necessary.


    Stella Romana Airoldi heeft een Nederlands bedrijf, 22STARS opgericht. 22STARS richt zich op het creëren van duurzame sieraden. Alle producten zijn handgemaakt van 100% gerecycled papier op een sociaal verantwoorde manier. Ze worden gemaakt door vrouwen die in de Acholi Wijk van Kampala, Oeganda, wonen. Hierdoor verdienen zij geld voor o.a. voedsel, kleding, scholing, medicijnen en onderdak.

    Stil brise

    "Die niederländische Initiative 22STARS wurde von Stella Romana Airoldi gegründet. Als Stella 2009 im Rahmen einer Forschungsreise über Kindersoldaten nach Uganda fährt, entdeckt sie durch einen Zufall die Frauen aus dem Acholi Viertel von Kampala (einem Lager für Kriegsflüchtlinge, die aus Nord-Uganda geflohen sind) und ist sofort beeindruckt von den künstlerischen Fähigkeiten der Damen, schönen Schmuck aus Recycling-Papier zu machen. Nach einigen Überlegungen entschloss sich Stella, den Frauen zu helfen und eine Plattform für ihren Schmuck zu gründen."


    2009 war ich in Uganda um über Kindersoldatinnen in der Lord Resistance Army zu schreiben. Ich hatte dort Frauen für meine Masterthesis interviewt, die im Acholi Quarter in Kampala, ein Internally Displaced Center für Kriegsopfer aus Nord-Uganda,leben. Die Frauen dort fertigten einfachen Schmuck aus Papier an. Um Sie zu unterstützen habe ich ihnen natürlich Schmuck abgekauft. Den Kontakt habe ich gehalten und jedes Jahr Schmuck bestellt. Irgendwann wurde der Schmuck meinen Freunden zu langweilig. Sie fragten mich, ob die Frauen nicht mal was anderes machen könnten – zum Beispiel, eine lange blau-grüne Kette mit unterschiedlich großen Perlen, eine kurze schwarz-rote Kette und so weiter. Ich habe gesagt: “ Na klar, die können alles machen was du willst.” Als der gewünschte Schmuck ankam, waren meine Freunde unglaublich begeistert davon, dass alles mit der Hand hergestellt wurde. Sie schlugen mir vor, einen Laden zu eröffnen und den Schmuck zu verkaufen.

    Let's Go Wonder

    Stella has a heart of gold, she is a wanderluster, a founder and a #GirlBoss all round. Here is her story how she started international businesses 22Stars whilst traveling the world.

    In our stories of #Wonderer series, we share with you snippets from the road. These are stories from the women in our community, they are powerful, bold and free-spirited #Wonderers who love to travel. Full of Wanderlust.

    Jungunternehmer Podcast

    JUP 033 | Stella Airoldi: Was du für dich tust, das stirbt mit dir, was du für andere tust ist unsterblich Stella lebt in den Niederlanden, in Uganda und bereist die Welt. Sie ist digitale Nomadin, Visionärin und kreative Unternehmerin. Durch ihre Arbeit mit Frauen in Uganda, die einzigartigen Schmuck aus Recycling-Papier herstellen, ermöglicht sie ihnen und ihren Familien ein besseres Leben, ganz nach dem Prinzip: Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe. Stella hilft den Frauen sich selbst aus Armut zu befreien, indem sie ihnen Businessskills vermittelt, ihnen Gehör in der digitalen Welt verschafft und sich um das Marketing der handgefertigten Einzelstücke kümmert. In alle Prozesse von der Produktion bis zum Vertrieb ist sie involviert. Außerdem ermöglicht sie Kindern in den Slums von Uganda, durch eine Stiftung, den Schulbesuch.Was diese tolle Frau noch so alles treibt, was sie überhaupt nach Uganda geführt hat und wo du ihre tollen Produkte findest, das erfährst du in Interview 33 des Jungunternehmerpodcast.

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